Hard work, and taking chances, are the answers to Matlock’s recent poor set of results says Matlock Town boss Mark Atkins as he mulled over Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Whitby on the coach journey home.

The Gladiators have only won one league game since the derby home win against Ilkeston on October 26, taking a meagre seven points from those intervening league matches, a run which has seen them slide down from a play off position to fifteenth in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division table.

“Some of the performances just haven’t been good enough” Atkins admitted.”At times we seem to lack confidence and of course we’re down on numbers but in a lot of games we’ve created quite a few chances and that was the case at Whitby, and then we make one mistake and get punished.We need to work hard as a unit to arrest this run, people have got to stand up and be counted.”

Atkins added that he is surprised with the Gladiators current league position.

“I certainly didn’t expect us to be so far down the table but we’ve now got to look forward and hope that the tide will turn. At Whitby we were worth at least a draw, the Whitby goal was our own fault, but we’ve also had enough chances to have won. Their goalkeeper’s made a great save near the end, but we’ve got to start finding the net.”

Last season’s top scorer Lewis McMahon was expected to have faced Worksop in the New Years Day derby at the Reynolds Stadium, having spent a month on loan at Skrill Conference North Gainsborough Trinity, where he scored four goals in five games. McMahon had a frustrating start to the current campaign, being suspended for the opening four games and then picking up two separate injuries.

“Lewis will go straight into the squad for the Worksop game and we hope that he now comes back to us fully fit and raring to go” said Atkins.

Matlock are at home again on Saturday to Blyth Spartans and they will be looking to complete a league double over their Northumbrian visitors. At Croft Park at the end of August, goals from Danny Holland and Corey Gregory secured a first ever Matlock win over Blyth.

The Boxing Day derby at Buxton ended prematurely when floodlight failure caused the tie to be abandoned at half time with the score at 1-1. Shaun Tuton had levelled for Matlock after Derek Niven had given the Bucks an early lead.

“It took us fifteen minutes to get into the game and we conceded a soft goal from a corner. But after Joe (Leesley) went off injured, things changed, we scored a good goal, played very well and should have been ahead” said Atkins.

Ian Richardson

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